The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

E.R. Care:
Who Can Pay?

Jan 23, 2017

A majority of people in U.S. don’t have enough available cash to pay for a $1,000 emergency room bill, according to MarketWatch. This dire financial outcome covers all income groups. For example, three-quarters of people in households making less than $50,000 a year and two-thirds of those making between $50,000 and $100,000 would have difficulty coming up with $1,000 to cover an unexpected bill.

Three major non-health related spending items–housing, car, and education–consume most of families’ income, leaving very little cash behind. Millions of people are already struggling with student loans, amounting to 1.5 trillion dollars. Layoffs and extended unemployment are compounding such financial difficulties. So, when there are health problems and medical emergencies, people dive into their savings, charge such emergencies to their credit cards, or ask their family members or friends to pay related bills. Using savings to pay bills is dipping into the future. Credit cards have high interest rates, sinking people into further debt, forming a vicious financial circle.

Fifteen million people will deplete their savings to cover medical bills, as predicted by NerdWallet. Another 10 million will be unable to pay for necessities such as rent, food and utilities because of those bills.

This is how capitalism is driving large sections of the population into destitution. Only the rich benefit from this trap, with comfortable worry-free lives.